NORTH WALES COAST RAILWAY:NOTICE BOARD
Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd
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21 February 2022
The Daventry - Wentloog Tesco container service is seen here at Kemps Eye bridge, Belle Vue, diverted via Shrewsbury on 21 February and, apparently for at least the rest of the week. Ex-DB 66122 at the helm. Picture by Joe Breakwell.
Britain's railways have met with three 'named' storms in succession. Problems were predicted for 18 February. In response, Transport for Wales cancelled all trains on their network for the day. In the event, North Wales escaped the worst of the storm. The following day, some trains ran along the coast, at reduced speed, while the Conwy Valley remained closed. Sunday saw a more normal service.
On the night 20-21 January, North Wales and North West England were hit had by 'Storm Franklin' and nothing ran along the coast in the early morning, but as we write, an improvised shuttle service is operating between Holyhead and Chester. The Conwy Valley line is being inspected for flood damage ...
... and the Cambrian line is severed by a 'washout' near Welshpool.
This weekend marks the first of a number of weekends were there will be track replacement. Above, 66 571 with 6Y93, 07:25 Llandudno Junction to Bescot via Holyhead at Llanfairfechan with a rail carrying train on 20 February. It departed for Holyhead 91 minutes early at 5.51am, but passed back through Llandudno Junction heading east 33 minutes late. (Gary Thomas)
Britannia passes Balderton crossing on a Crewe - Chester - Wrexham Shrewsbury test run. looking and sounding great. (See below.) Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
West Midlands Trains class 196 Civity DMUs and Transport for Wales Class 197s securely stored at Donnington RFT – just visible in the distance like a train of army vehicles providing extra protection on the middle siding! (Graham Breakwell)
The view from Chester - by Geoff Morris
I went out to the bridge at Chester Golf Course this on Thursday 17 February to photograph 70000 Britannia which was doing a mainline test over the usual circuit from Crewe to Crewe via Chester & Coton Hill following its return to the Locomotive Service depot the previous day after running-in on the Severn Valley Railway. The run left Crewe slightly early but was delayed outside Chester before being routed into one of the goods loops at Chester station where it remained for around 20 minutes.
This was not anticipated in the booked timings in RTT and those of us gathered on the bridge started to fear the worst. Fortunately one of us was able to view the Chester signalbox information via Railcam and eventually informed us that it was moving again and in the right direction ! I assume that crew wanted to check something which required safe trackside access to the loco before continuing over its planned route.
It was c.25 minutes late but appeared to be going well when I photographed it from the Golf Course bridge. 37 688 Great Rocks was attached to the rear as is normal on these test runs.
While waiting for the steam to pass a couple of class 197 test/training runs passed through. Firstly 197 003 headed towards Chester (from Llandudno Junction) and about a quarter of an hour later a pair of 2-car units 197 004 and 197 001 headed towards Llandudno Junction (running c.20 minutes late). The above photo shows them in Curzon Park cutting which, unlike the Roodee viaduct, remains very overgrown.
On my walk home I passed the Locks and found 197 003 waiting at the signal on the slow line to head west (having reversed in Chester station) and got to the overbridge on Canal Street to get a photo of it leaving. Very few trains use the down slow line here and it was a novelty to photograph passenger stock using this line.
Missing trains explained
Many thanks to readers who have written about this topic, the reasons for this become clear. Basically, once a section of line is handed over to the engineers as a 'Possession' any train movements do not need recording on the database used by Real Time Trains.
Regarding the specific train to Penmaenmawr, Chris Jones-Bridger sums up the scenario:
'Regarding the inward long welded rail train that went on to form the 07:20 Penmaenmawr to Westbury on Sunday, I think you'll find it went down the coast as the 21:07 Basford Hall to Llandudno Junction (visible on Real Time Trains ) on Saturday evening.
'It's quite common for engineering trains to be timed to the point where they enter an engineering possession then to reappear from the separate location where they exit the possession. In this case it looks like the train worked between the Junction and Penmaenmawr, stopping to unload rails to be used in the forthcoming works.
' It's interesting when it had completed it's work in North Wales it was timed as far as Westbury. Having seen a video of Sunday's train on YouTube it still had rail onboard probably destined for a 'drop' originating off Westbury.'
From Dave Sallery's archive
Stanier 8F 2-8-0 48465 passes Rock Ferry with a long freight from Birkenhead docks in November 1967. [I remember this loco well from the Buxton area: I recall renumbering my Hornby-Dublo model for use on my long-lost 'Tideswell' layout.- Charlie]
'Jinty' 0-6-0 tank 47472 is acting as station pilot at Preston in June 1965.
Return to Waunfawr
David Pool's Waunfawr image in last week's issue has raised some correspondence. The original caption read 'At Waenfawr the work on building the station was proceeding well on 16 August 2000, as Garratt 143 seems to be waiting for the line to be cleared before running round its train.'
Mark Hambly writes: 'My recollection of the mode of operation at Waunfawr that summer was that a shunt release arrangement was in operation, as trackworks on the left hand side of the island platform (as viewed from Caernarfon) were incomplete. 143 is therefore sat in what was temporarily a siding while one of the Festiniog diesels outstationed there shunted the stock.
Barrie Hughes, long-time chronicler of Welsh Highland matters, agrees, and provides the above picture. 'When the WHR opened to Waunfawr (note corrected modern spelling) the run round loop was not complete but the F&WHR was anxious to captilalise on the higher fares it could earn from the extra five miles of track from Dinas, so opened on 7 August 2000 using shunt release with the short siding visible in David Pool's image.
The first train of the day would arrive with No.143 and the Funkey diesel Castell Caernarfon. After allowing the passengers to get off, the train would set back to beyond the road bridge and the Garratt would detach and shunt light engine into the siding. The Funkey then drew the coaches forward into the platform and the Garratt shunted out of the siding to attach to the rear.
The Funkey was detached and ran to the siding after the train had departed for Caernarfon ready to perform a shunt release for the next train to arrive. The Funkey was attached to the rear of the last train of the day in order to return to Dinas depot. This situation persisted for a few weeks until the Waunfawr loop was completed by September. My image from 7 August 2000, the opening day, shows the Funkey drawing the coaches back into the platform with No.143 in the short siding, soon to become the run round loop.
Looking back: Diesels 2001 part 1 - by David Pool
Seen at Hargrave on 13 January 2001, the 10:06 Bangor to Crewe was formed by 156 423 and 153 425 in the North West Regional livery with the green stripes. The leading unit looks due for a visit to the carriage cleaning plant.
A week later on 20 January there was no sunshine in Chester, but it was the last opportunity to see a Class 37 on the 08:47 Holyhead to Birmingham service, as regular locomotive haulage came to an end on passenger workings from North Wales. 37 429 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol was built in 1965 as D6600, the lowest number in the Class 37 fleet, and this was its last recorded working. Subsequently it was stored, and eventually cut up in 2008.
A Pathfinder Railtour visited Liverpool on 17 February 2001. 1Z43 was the 07:20 from Newport to Lime Street, and the leg from Warrington used 60 035 Florence Nightingale in Transrail livery, hauling a matching rake of chocolate and cream Mk1 coaches. It is passing Monks Siding Box – will we ever see regular passenger services through here in the future?
The de-icing and Sandite trains had probably finished running on Merseyrail by 25 March 2001, and the former Class 501 Departmental units 977349 and 977350 were parked at the side of Birkenhead North Depot. The following season would see the arrival of the Multi Purpose Vehicle de-icing units, and 977349 has been preserved, although not on public view.
The Mid Hants Railway began to run railtours in 1998, using their own preserved locomotives and stock, under the name of “Daylight Railtours”. On 28 April 2001 their train was 1Z93, 06:02 Alton to Chester, using the Hastings gauge D6593 (withdrawn from BR service as 33 208). The train is at Rhosymedre, near what was once the junction to Llangollen and Bala. Unlike most other railtours at the time, this train was worked throughout by a single locomotive, in this case D6593. Perhaps due to the difficulties of maintaining a pool of motive power certified for main line use, “Daylight Railtours” ceased trading in 2004.
Winwick was a popular location for photographs in 2001, and on the evening of 1 May the 7K73 Sellafield to Crewe was quadruple headed by 20 309, 20 313, 20 307 and 20 315. This working would be split into two trains at Crewe, most likely going to Bridgwater (for Hinkley Point) and Valley (for Wylfa), although there were still workings to Berkeley (for Oldbury).
1M59, the 0937 from Bristol to Warrington mail train, was a regular Class 67 working, and on 2 May 2001 the locomotive was 67 025. I liked the shots at Wrenbury, but on this occasion I went to Nantwich, where the view from the level crossing footbridge produced a pleasing picture.
Later that day I moved on to Crewe, and the unusual combination of a Class 57 and a Class 37 was being used on 4M50, the 0735 Southampton to Crewe. Freightliner 57 007 was leading 37 603, the latter still in the Channel Tunnel two tone grey with roundels. I think the 37 had no regular duties, and presumably was on loan to Freightliner. The train is entering Basford Hall yard. (37 603 is currently offered for sale by DRS.)
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